Let's get this out of the way first: The latest Nexus smartphone from Google is made by Huawei, a company seen by many as inferior to some other phone brands.
But it is about time the Chinese company, which has been making phones for a very long time, gets some well-deserved recognition.
The latest partner of Google for its Nexus devices has already turned heads with the 6P, yet many might not know that Huawei has been making well-designed unibody Android phones since the beginning of the year.
The Huawei Ascend Mate 7, which came out in February, is a 6-inch phablet that offers a responsive fingerprint sensor, while the Huawei P8 refines that build in a smaller, 5.2-inch frame.
The Nexus 6P is a natural evolution of those devices, and it adds a QHD display, 12MP rear camera and the latest Android 6 operating system.
It comes in a thin chassis, with a small bump at the top rear, where the camera and flash module are housed.
The QHD screen has become a standard with flagship smartphones from LG and Samsung, so it is great to have a Nexus device offering it as well.
The screen delivered very well-defined graphics details and a colour presentation that looks richer than real life, even with the brightness dialled down.
The camera itself is also remarkable and comparable with the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 5. While one might scowl at the 12MP offered here, compared with the 16MP on the Note 5, Huawei has used a larger 1.55-micron sensor which captures more light.
This produces better low-light shots and brighter colours when used indoors. The camera is also capable of recording 4K video, up to an astonishing 240 frames per second.
There is no optical image stabilising, though I have yet to encounter any issues with shooting while moving. That said, I still prefer the softer colours produced by the Note 5, and I miss having the Lock Exposure settings of the Note 5 and iPhone 6S Plus. Also, for pro users out there, there is no option to shoot in RAW format.
The High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode felt slightly laggy, which could mean that the 6P has a hardware-based HDR feature.
While I have grown accustomed to fingerprint sensors on phones, I have never liked their positioning at the bottom of the screen. Activating biometrics with one hand, especially when holding on to a phablet, is often a precarious endeavour. The 6P's sensor is positioned at the rear where your forefinger normally sits, which makes plenty of sense.
Sensor response is also very fast, so there is almost no delay in waking up the Nexus 6P.
The phone is also one of the first to make use of a Type-C connector. Two cables are provided. The USB to Type-C one connects your phone to your laptop and current USB chargers. The Type-C to Type-C cable works with the provided Nexus 6P charger that supports fast charging.
While it is a hassle to start buying more Type-C cables, I like the stability and sturdiness of the new larger connectors.
There is no wireless charging option. However, Android 6 has a powerful Doze mode that runs in the background. If the phone is stationary and not connected to a charger, the device will go into a lower-power idle mode that limits notifications, aside from calls and SMS messages.
This means that at night, the phone on your dresser will not start ringing due to game app notifications, which increases the stand-by battery life of your phone.
PRICE: 64GB $949 128GB $1,049
PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core (Quad-core 1.55 GHz + Quad-core 2.0 GHz)
DISPLAY: 5.7-inch AMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass 4, 1,440 x 2,560 pixels (518 ppi pixel density)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6 (Marshmallow)
MEMORY: 64/128 GB, (No expandable memory) 3 GB RAM
CAMERA: (Rear) 12 MP, 4,608 x 2,592 pixels, laser autofocus, dual-LED flash. (Front) 8MP
BATTERY: 3450 mAh (non removable)
BATTERY LIFE: 5/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
VERDICT: The Huawei Nexus 6P is a remarkable phone that makes up for some missing smartphone features with new ones of its own.
This article was first published on November 11, 2015.
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